NHL free agency has started with a bang, as D Sergei Gonchar has signed a three-year contract with the Ottawa Senators worth $5.5 million per year, reports TSN.ca. The deal includes a no-trade clause and the third year that the Penguins weren't willing to add. Gonchar had 11 goals and 39 assists for the Pens in 2009-10.
Meanwhile, the Penguins acted quickly to fill his void, signing D Zbynek Michalek for four years and $20 million. Michalek was considered one of the more underrated free agent defensemen on the market, but if he's getting $5 million/per and Gonchar's getting only $500,000 a year more, that would indicate the his value is fairly high. Michalek, 27, goes 6'2", 210 pounds, and had 3 goals and 14 assists with Phoenix last season.
On the team's current status, Rob Rossi tweets, "Pens anticipate $7 million, slightly more, in remaining cap space. STILL talking to [Paul] Martin. That would possibly leave room for vet wing."
Meanwhile, Kevin Allen of USA Today says, "Pens and defenseman Mark Eaton have agreed to see what happens today before discussing whether he will re-sign in Pittsburgh."
Allen also adds, "Pens are paying $20 million for Michalek over 5 years, and that leaves enough money to go after a winger or another big name defenseman."
The speculation seems to be that their target is New Jersey D Paul Martin, which means the Hamhuis trade was pretty much all for naught.
And for his remaining fans, Colby Armstrong has signed with the Toronto Maple Leafs, says TSN's Bob McKenzie.
More as it develops, but here are some additional links to keep tabs on in the meantime:
Rob Rossi [Twitter]
Kevin Allen [Twitter]
Bob McKenzie [Twitter]